"Tonight...marks the opening night of Kander and Ebb's very last show," she wrote about the Broadway composing team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. "Starring the incomparable Chita Rivera, The Visit represents the final moment in one of the most remarkable ongoing collaborations in the history of the theater. To give you an idea of the kind of impact they have had, at least one Kander and Ebb show has been running on Broadway during 41 of the last 50 years."
Ebb, who wrote lyrics to Kander's music on more than a dozen Broadway musicals including Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Zorba and Woman of the Year, died Sept. 11, 2004, leaving behind three more musicals in various stages of completion.
Curtains was completed and found its way to Broadway in 2008. The Scottsboro Boys followed in 2010. The last major legacy project in the pipeline, The Visit, opens tonight. Though Kander remains busy composing with other collaborators, it represents that last of the Kander & Ebb vintage, at least as far as full dramatic musical scores are concerned.
Minnelli, who starred in Kander & Ebb's first Broadway show, Flora, the Red Menace (1965) and collaborated with them often afterward, wrote, "Their work will live on in revivals until the end of time, of course, but the thrill and privilege of hearing their words and music sung out loud for the first time is singular. But like all that is wonderful and special about the theater, that thrill and privilege is all too fleeting."